Benjamin Worsley (1618–1673) was an English physician, Surveyor-General of Ireland, experimental scientist, civil servant and intellectual figure of Commonwealth England. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, but may not have graduated.
His survey of land in Ireland was of land claimed by Oliver Cromwell under the Act of Settlement. Worsley was from 1651 a physician in Cromwell's army, but took to surveying around 1653. His work was too rough-and-ready to be of practical help to arranging land grants to soldiers, and William Petty took over.
Worseley associated with the circle around Samuel Hartlib and John Dury, and on their behalf visited Johann Rudolph Glauber in 1648-9. Worsley followed the theories of Michael Sendivogius and Clovis Hesteau. He was a projector in the manufacture of saltpeter (1646). Later, probably in the mid-1650s, he wrote De nitro theses quaedam. He also took up the alchemy of transmutation, with Johann Moriaen and Johannes Sibertus Kuffler.
He was also probably heterodox in religion.
References and sources
- William R. Newman and Lawrence M. Principe (2002), Alchemy Tried in the Fire
- J. T. Young (1998), Faith, Alchemy and Natural Philosophy: Johann Moriaen, Reformed Intelligencer, and the Hartlib Circle
- Clericuzio, Antonio, New Light on Benjamin Worsley's Natural Philosophy', in Mark Greengrass, Michael Leslie and Timothy Raylor (eds.), Samuel Hartlib and Universal Reformation: Studies in Intellectual Communication (Cambridge University Press, 1994), 236-46
- Webster, C. (1994) Benjamin Worsley: engineering for universal reform from the Invisible College to the Navigation Act in Samuel Hartlib and Universal Reformation: Studies in Intellectual Communication (1994)
- Thomas Leng (2008) Benjamin Worsley (1618-1677): trade, interest and the spirit in revolutionary England